Do I Need a Box Spring for a Memory Foam Mattress?

For decades, conventional wisdom dictated that mattresses had to sit on box springs. While nobody was quite sure what box springs did, it was deemed unacceptable to simply place your mattress on a bed frame.

With the rise of memory foam mattresses, however, things have changed. Learn whether you need to place a box spring under your memory foam mattress, and discover the best base you can place beneath your new memory foam bed.

What is the point of a box spring?

Box springs serve four primary purposes:

  1. Raising the height of your bed, making it easier to get in and out of.
  2. Absorbing impact on an innerspring mattress, reducing wear and lengthening the life of your mattress.
  3. Improving airflow, keeping your mattress cooler while you sleep
  4. Serving as strong, supportive foundations for mattresses.

In the olden days, most box springs actually contained springs. Recently, however, the mattress industry has recognized that the springs in bed foundations aren’t usually necessary.

As a result, box springs are now commonly called “foundations,” and they don’t contain springs anymore. Instead, they simply consist of sturdy boxes made from metal or wood.

How do you know if you need a box spring?

If you sleep on an innerspring mattress, you should probably place your mattress on top of a box spring. By absorbing some of the impact placed on your mattress, a box spring can extend the life of your innerspring.

If you sleep on a memory foam or latex mattress, however, you do not need a box spring. In fact, box springs can damage mattresses made from memory foam, latex, or combinations of these two materials.

Instead, memory foam mattresses should be placed on firm foundations without springs. Or, they can also be placed directly on platform beds.

What can I substitute for a box spring?

If you sleep on an innerspring bed, there is no adequate replacement for a box spring. Innerspring beds already have the shortest usable lives of all mattress types. You’ll want to get as much use out of your bed as possible by placing it on a box spring.

Memory foam mattresses, however, should never be placed on top of box springs. If you sleep on a memory foam mattress, you should substitute your box spring with a platform bed or a firm foundation.

Is a box spring necessary for a memory foam mattress?

You should never use a conventional box spring with a memory foam mattress. If you want to place your memory foam mattress on a platform, you should use a firm, solid foundation or a platform bed.

  • Solid mattress foundations are ideal for memory foam mattresses since they are solid across their tops. They raise your mattress off the floor without bringing along any of the harmful elasticity provided by conventional box springs.
  • Platform beds are like conventional bed frames, but they contain rows of wooden slats that span from one side of the frame to the other. They keep your mattress off the floor, and they provide the firm support that’s necessary for memory foam mattresses.
  • What type of box spring do you need for a memory foam mattress?

    Don’t listen to anyone who says you need a conventional box spring for your memory foam mattress. If you already have a box spring and you’re upgrading to a memory foam mattress, properly recycle your old box spring and acquire a viable alternative.

    Instead of placing your memory foam mattress on a box spring, consider one of these alternatives:

    1. Lay your memory foam mattress on a firm foundation that doesn’t contain any springs.
    2. Place your memory foam mattress on a platform bed that provides proper support.
    3. Put your memory foam mattress directly on the floor, but follow proper procedures to keep your sleeping environment hygienic.

    What is the best base for a memory foam mattress?

    It’s best to either place your memory foam mattress on a firm foundation or on a platform bed. Each of these base options has its benefits and detractors.

    Memory foam mattress foundations, for instance, serve as solid, dependable bases for your memory foam mattress. Apart from elevating your mattress higher above the ground, however, foundations don’t offer any practical benefits.

    Unless you really don’t like having a low bed, for instance, it would be redundant to place a solid foundation on a platform bed. When it comes to memory foam mattresses, platform beds provide the same amount of support as foundations. Sleeping with a foundation between your memory foam mattress and your platform bed won’t add to the life of your mattress.

    Can you put a memory foam mattress on a platform bed?

    Yes. Most people choose to place their memory foam mattresses on platform beds for a few simple reasons:

    1. Platform beds keep your mattress reasonably high off the ground
    2. You can use the area under your platform bed as storage space
    3. Platform beds allow airflow underneath your mattress
    4. In general, platform beds are relatively inexpensive

    A variety of platform beds are available online, and in most cases, you can assemble your new platform bed yourself. Then, you can simply place your memory foam mattress on your platform bed with no need to mess around with any box springs or foundations.

    Is it bad to put a mattress on the floor?

    According to Sleep Advisor, there are a few important pros and cons of placing your memory foam mattress directly on the floor:


    • Putting a mattress on the floor without any additional cushioning can improve your circulation, lower your risk of scoliosis, and reduce back pain. While these benefits can also be achieved by placing your memory foam mattress on a completely firm foundation, most platform beds are designed to give slightly under pressure, making them unlike solid floors.
    • The air by the floor is cooler, helping you maintain proper temperature regulation throughout the night and avoid night sweats.


    • Sleeping with your mattress on the floor might expose you to dust and other airborne contaminants that are more concentrated near the floor. You can combat this potential detractor by cleaning your floors regularly.
    • Placing your mattress on the floor prevents air from flowing underneath it. As a result, your mattress will be more susceptible to mold, and any moisture your body emits while sleeping will be captured by your mattress. You can counteract this detractor by periodically laying your mattress against a wall to air it out.
    • Bed bugs, dust mites, and other pests crawl around on the floor. They’ll have easy access to your mattress if it’s on the floor as well. You can, however, encase your mattress in a hypoallergenic cover to prevent pest incursions.

    What should I put under my mattress?

    In the end, it’s mostly up to you what you decide to place underneath your mattress. Even placing your mattress directly on the floor can be made manageable with the right defensive measures, and both firm foundations and platform beds keep your mattress off the floor while also promoting proper airflow.

    Just don’t put your memory foam mattress on a box spring. These types of mattress foundations were never designed to work with memory foam, and they could damage your new mattress. Get rid of your old box spring, and replace it with a firm foundation, purchase a platform bed, or explore the potential benefits of placing your mattress directly on the floor.